Sports Autograph Values
How to use the Autograph Guide
This guide should be used for authenticated items only. The guide provides
pricing for items that have already been certified by a respected third party
authenticator. Regardless, the prices listed in this guide represent what the items
should approximately sell for if in fact they were certified. This price guide provides pricing
for autographs that are ungraded but considered to be in NM-MT condition.
SMR does its absolute best to reflect the current market for autograph prices, the prices listed
should only be used as a guide when buying and selling autographed items.
Please refer to the autograph chart and to the section below, "A Note about Autograph Pricing," for further explanation.
A Note About Autograph Pricing
Autograph pricing can be, at times, a difficult task. There are many factors
to consider when placing a value on an autographed item. Condition, rarity, eye appeal
and age are just some of the factors used in evaluating autograph pricing. For example,
when you have an autographed team ball, many collectors assume that you simply add all
the individual signatures to come up with the value. That is not the case. While team
signed baseballs are great collectibles, single signed items are considered more desirable
than those items that are signed by multiple players. Another pricing dilemma occurs
when the condition of the autograph and the item itself differ. A baseball maybe in
mint condition but the autograph may only grade a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 10.
The situation is the same for items that are signed perfectly but the items
themselves may be in poor condition. In addition, a player may rarely sign certain items
such as game used equipment or the player may not sign often with inscriptions. All in
all, there is a lot to consider when determining the value of autographed items. I have
provided a general condition chart that should be used as a base only because, as it was
stated above, autograph pricing can vary a great deal.
Baseballs - There are several factors that contribute to the value of autographed
baseballs. First, as a general rule, baseballs are valued higher if they are signed on
the sweet spot as opposed to the side panel. Sweet spot autographs are much easier to
display and therefore command a premium price. On the other hand, many players,
especially those from the vintage era, signed on the side panel often. Baseballs
signed on the side panel offer an affordable alternative to those on the sweet spot.
Second, official league baseballs are generally valued higher than non-league
baseballs. Third, baseballs that are harder to locate such as World Series baseballs or
scarce versions of regular season baseballs command a premium. Fourth, personalized
baseballs such as "To Jack" are valued less than non-personalized baseballs. Finally,
the condition of the baseball itself, regardless of the condition of the autograph, is
also a major factor in determining the value. Coloring (whiteness), scuffing, shellacking
(a glossy coat to preserve the autograph), staining and overall wear are all key factors
in determining the value of autographed baseballs. The general and simple rule is the
better the eye appeal, the higher the value.
Photos - When determining the value of an autographed photo, there are a few
factors to consider. The photo may have corner wear or slight edge wear without
detracting significantly from the value but any wear or damage that detracts from the
image itself will lower the value considerably. Also, as with baseballs, personalized
autographs will lower the overall value. Other major factors include rarity of the photo,
historical importance, picture quality and overall eye appeal. Photos are usually used
as display items so the eye appeal is very important. The prices in this guide are for
8x10 (modern) or smaller (vintage) photos.
Documents - The keys to determining the value of an autographed document are
overall condition and content. Many letters will have folds or bends in them because
of the mailing process so, as long as there are no major flaws such as tears or staining
that affect the content, the value won't be affected very much. Content is another
major factor. As a general rule, the more sports related content, the higher the value.
There are instances where non-sports content may worth more; it simply comes down to
how interesting the content is.
Another content-related factor revolves around the amount handwriting found
in the document. With all other things being equal, if a letter is handwritten, it is
usually worth more than a letter that is typed. Collectors seem to like the personal
touch the handwritten pieces offer.
Bats, Gloves, Jerseys and Helmets - This guide should be used for non-game
equipment. Autographed game issued or game used equipment would command a much higher
premium than the prices listed in this guide. The autographed bat, glove, jersey and
helmet prices listed are for replica or commemorative-type items. General condition
Flats - General condition principles apply to all other miscellaneous flat items.
As stated earlier, autograph pricing is a very difficult task when you
consider the amount of subjectivity involved. At SMR, we will do our very best to track
the market on all of the items listed and add new items as needed. We hope this
information proves to be useful in determining the values of your prized autographed
Remember that autographs authenticated in the presence of the signer will usually
sell for a premium price, sometimes a major one, when the service provided includes
certification (usually accompanied by a sticker, hologram or DNA) from a respected
company in the industry. The bottom line is autograph collecting or any other area
of collecting is that you get what you pay for. There is great value in buying
authenticated autographs. Not only are they more liquid when it comes time to sell
them but you absolutely know you are getting the real thing. Major premium prices
apply to autographs of this quality and for very good reason.
- Index Card
- Still Playing
- Album Page
- Goal Line Art Card
- Hall of Fame
- HOF PLAQ-B/W
- Hall of Fame Plaque
- Black and White issued before 1963.
- HOF PLAQ-Gold
- Hall of Fame Plaque
- Gold card issued after 1963.
- For instance, it is impossible for Grover Alexander to have signed a Gold Hall of Fame plaque card because he passed away prior to issuance.
- Not Applicable
- For instance, Gil Hodges was never inducted into the Hall of Fame, therefore the Hall of Fame plaque cards will not apply to him.
- SS Ball
- Single Signed Official Baseball
- SS Bat
- Single Signed Bat
- Single Signed Official Football
- Single Signed Jersey
- Not known at this time.